David Batty made his debut for Leeds United aged 18. A Leeds lad born and bred, he was a product of the club’s academy and quickly made a name for himself at the club. Initial fears that Batty might be too lightweight to play the role of ball-winning central midfielder were soon stamped out as he showed himself to be a terrier of a midfielder. Tireless and ruthless, few were better at hassling the opposition until possession was won.
In his first spell with Leeds, Batty made a brilliant 211 appearances before he was sold to high-flying Blackburn, then managed by Kenny Dalglish. He got a taste of success at the club, winning the Premier league and of course competing in the Champions League the following season. Batty continued to emerge as a fine English talent. In 1996 he requested a transfer, and was snapped up by Newcastle.
Under Kevin Keegan at Newcastle, David was again treated to a Premiership challenge, and was an integral part of the team that opposed Manchester United, leading them for most of the season before slipping away at the end. Batty was lauded for his work rate and leadership at the club, and was highly respected by everybody involved with football. His time at Newcastle also saw an FA Cup final, which Batty started but the club did not win.
When Ruud Gullit took over at the Toon, Batty transferred back to his beloved Leeds for a fee of £4.4 million. Yet again, David found himself playing football at a very high level, this time under David O’Leary. Leeds made it to Europe and he was instrumental in the team until he fell out of favour in around 2004, which, combined with an injury, proved the deciding factor in his retirement.
Batty played 42 games for the England senior team, most notably in the 1998 World Cup, where he was a regular selection.
Since retiring, Batty has been an advocate of Cancer Research, helping out with their advertising campaigns and raising awareness for the charity.
David Batty, The North Stand salutes you!